MLA News | Michigan Library Association
News - Advocacy
Thursday, March 24, 2022 12:00 AM

Open Meetings Act Update

In late January, Representative John Damoose (District 107) introduced House Bill 5689 which will update Section 3a (MCL 15.263a) as amended by 2021 PA 54 of the Open Meetings Act (OMA) to allow cooperative library boards and local library boards to meet virtually if they choose. The bill was referred to the Local Government and Municipal Finance Committee. 

There is a political reality to the passage of this legislation. It should be noted that there have been a number of proposed revisions introduced to the OMA during the past year. None have moved past the introduction since mid-2021 with the political divisions we now see. (Some of these bills are documented in the MLA Bill Tracker on the MLA website.)

News - MLA
Thursday, March 24, 2022 12:00 AM

MLA Donates $500 to Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Library

At MLA's Spring Institute for Youth Services in Mt. Pleasant, MLA offered a Land Acknowledgement in order to recognize the Anishinaabe people's traditional land we gathered upon -- the land on which the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe (composed mainly of the Saginaw, Black River and Swan Creek Ojibwe bands) have resided on for over 200 years, and to express our commitment to learning their history. To show our commitment, MLA made a direct donation of $500 to the Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Library. We encourage you to visit our website to read the land acknowledgment and links and resources to learn more about the history and issues of importance to the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe.

News - Advocacy
Friday, March 18, 2022 12:00 AM

New Chair of Intellectual Freedom Task Force

On Friday, March 18, the MLA Board of Directors appointed Dillon Geshel to serve as the Chair of the Intellectual Freedom Task Force to replace outgoing Chair, Jasmine Parker.

The Intellectual Freedom Task Force serves as a subgroup and coordinates with the Advocacy and Legislative Committee on establishing progressive priorities relating to library collections, censorship and privacy. The purpose of the task force is to support MLA in safeguarding intellectual freedom and first amendment rights, proactively educate and inform the library field of legislation related to intellectual freedom, develop a position and response by MLA in instances of controversy over censorship, and encourage Michigan libraries to develop policies that will support free speech and the freedom to read.

News - MLA
Friday, March 18, 2022 12:00 AM

Movement on the MLA Board        

On Friday, March 18, the MLA Board of Directors appointed Lisa Waskin to serve in the seat vacated by Jasmine Parker, who is leaving the state for a new role. Lisa will serve as a Member-at-Large on the MLA Board through June 30, 2023.

After working as a Director at three different libraries in the Chicago area, Lisa is now the Director of the Superior District Library in Sault Ste. Marie – with nine branches in the Upper Peninsula. She studied history and archaeology at the University of North Dakota and then went on to obtain a Master’s in Library and Information Science Degree from Dominican University.

MLA Connect Archives
Thursday, March 17, 2022 12:00 AM

MLA Connect Advocacy Hour: Intellectual Freedom: When the Challenges Are Truly Political

When a book or materials challenge is made by people with legitimate interests in the outcome, however difficult it is to discuss, there will be an outcome in line with the First Amendment and your library's values. However, there is an entirely different class of book bans that are political, politicized, and performative which must be understood in order to be properly engaged. 

For public libraries, these challenges are used to attack the library's funding, its staff, or even its existence. In school libraries, these performative and politicized challenges seem to attack or negate the students the books represent. In order to face these unusual types of challenges, library leaders in both public and school settings need to see that these challenges are more expansive than previous intellectual freedom fights - and need to be prepared to engage them on multiple fronts at once. 
Join MLA and MAME for a discussion with EveryLibrary Executive Director John Chrastka about ways to anticipate and answer highly politicized challenges with integrity to your mission and compassion for the community or students your library serves. 
View Coffee Hour Recording
News - MLA
Friday, March 11, 2022 12:00 AM

MLA 2022 Youth Literary Awards Top Ten Titles Lists Announced

We are excited to announce the top titles of the 2022 Mitten, YouPer and Thumbs Up! Awards! Top Ten Title flyers, awards seals and award banners are available and free to use! Please use these resources at your library to help us promote MLA Youth Literary Awards and the amazing job our workgroups do in selecting the very best books for youth! Read on for details.

MLA Youth Literary Award workgroups worked throughout the past year, spending thousands of hours reading, reviewing and discussing hundreds of books to determine the top titles for youth published in 2021.

View the Top Ten Titles of the 2022 MItten, Youper and Thumbs Up! Awards below! The winners and honor books will be announced at the new MLA Youth Literary Awards event: Save the date for Friday, May 27 at 10:00 AM and plan to join us live on Zoom or watch for the announcement from MLA on our social media and website!

News - MLA
Written by Deborah E. Mikula, MLA Executive Director   

Letter From Debbie

February 24, 2022

MLA has been a strong advocate for libraries throughout our 130-year history. Just in the past 2 years, we have increased library funding, taken a stand on library privacy, property taxes, intellectual freedom, open meetings, and so much more. 

This week, I had the great opportunity to see the behind-the-scenes work of the American Library Association (ALA) and have had great conversations with other advocates from around the country and here in our state. I have been reminded many times over how strong our argument is for the value and importance of our libraries throughout our nation and in our world. We can’t ignore the evidence that strong libraries make strong communities. 

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